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Define domestic terrorism Essay

One of the two general types of terrorism, domestic terrorism is the type that “involves persons or groups committing a terrorist act(s) in their own country” (Fairchild, 2001). As opposed to domestic terrorism, international terrorism usually include situations that involve a target in another country attacked by a group from another, thus creating a situation in which more than one government has an interest. Thus, domestic terrorism is an internal affair and, at least in theory, less open to the involvement of other states.

This distinction between domestic and international terrorism, however, can often be misleading. Domestic terrorist actions may only be possible with foreign support and aid, yet the presence of that support and assistance may not be known for some time, leading to a misclassification of the act. A dissident organization may seek to attack a foreign ally of the government that it opposes in order to have the foreign support reduced. Such an attack would clearly be international in scope, but generally domestic in the objective it seeks.

In yet other cases, what passes for an international terrorist act is less distinctive. If Kurdish separatists in Turkey attempt to attack the office of a provincial governor, it is domestic terrorism. If the same separatist group attacks a Turkish consulate in France, then the attack is considered international terrorism since it took place on foreign soil. In both cases, however, the attack represents actions by the same organization against the same government.

Whether the attack occurred in Turkey or France is a matter of convenience for the separatists; it does not reflect a significantly different type of action (Lutz & Lutz, 2004, p. 15). One famous example would be the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh and his associates. Another example occurred in Spain, where the Basque Fatherland and Liberty Movement has used terrorist tactics to overcome Spanish resistance to Basque separatism.

A third example took place in Japan, where sarin nerve gas was planted in five trains in the Tokyo subway in 1995 by a Japanese religious cult. Furthermore, there are two types of domestic terrorism: Terrorism from above, or the so-called state terrorism and terrorism from below, which is the non-state terrorism. One example of a state terrorism the mass killing by the governments of Sudan and China, where 130 million civilians were decimated by 34 million men in uniform in 20th century (Rummel, 1996).

Another example is the genocidal policies against the North American Indians. This happened before the Constitution was signed, when the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was mapped out the manner in which the U. S. government would deal with the Indian nations. The Ordinance proclaimed that the government would observe “the utmost good faith” in dealing with Indians and promised that their lands would not be invaded or taken except “in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress.

” The Indian policies have been contradictory in practice because these policies endorsed actions most beneficial to the non-Indian population, making them prone to terrorism (Vohryzek-Bolden et al 2001, p. 40). On the other hand, “terrorism from above” involves terrorism practiced by “those outside dominant groups and institutions, intended to produce fear and anxiety in established groups, institutions, and their stakeholders” (Nyomi, 24 September 2004).

“Terrorism from below occurs when persons use, or threaten to use, political violence either to undermine or overthrow existing governmental policies or structures, or to intimidate individuals and groups they perceive as threatening to the social, political, economic, or ideological status quo” (Vohryzek-Bolden et al 2001, p. 12). Example of terrorism from below is the socialist and anarchist influences that sparked Haymarket Square Riot in nineteenth-century Europe. 2. Summarize the approaches to political violence Mao, Guevara, Marighella, and Fanon.

Which domestic terror groups from the past or present would you identify with these different approaches? Explain your position. Mao Tse Tung, Che Guevara, and Carlos Marighella had good intentions about using political violence. These people had adapted guerrilla warfare to distinctly rural and urban locales; proposed that terror was to be used as a way to change existing political structures and transform them into Marxist governmental systems; and determined that terror was a tool to be used only to overthrow the abusers of power, never against innocent civilians.

On the other hand, Franz Fanon revised their tactics by claiming that terror was a useful, justifiable means for achieving freedom and, in some cases, for acting as a cleansing force necessary to survival. Thereafter, some terrorists had devised a version of their concepts that terror was not merely to be used as a means to gain an end, but rather as an end unto itself (Vohryzek et al 2001, p. 69-70). Like Mao, Guevara and Marighella, the protracted conflicts Irish Republican Army (IRA) and, more recently, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) of Northern Ireland have similar ways to deal with political violence.

The “troubles” between England and Ireland are centuries old; the independent Irish Free State, however, was not established until 1920, after years of struggle by the illegal Irish Republican Army, which combined terrorism and guerilla warfare in its battle with England. At that time, England retained the largely Protestant northern counties of Ireland, called Ulster, and gave them special status as an entity within Great Britain. Although this partition of Ireland was vehemently opposed by the newly independent Irish Free State, it continued and developed a certain legitimacy over the years.

The IRA tactics, but not its goals, were immensely criticized by the Republic of Ireland during the post-independence era. Choice of tactics also led to the rupture between the PIRA and the OIRA (Official Irish Republican Army) in the early 1970s. The OIRA now tries to work for peaceful reform, while the PIRA remains a terrorist organization (Maxon-Browne, 1981). The PIRA’s aim is to dislodge the British troops from Ulster and unite this area with the Republic. Through bombings in England and attacks on British soldiers in England and Northern Ireland, it hopes to wear down British resistance to unification.

Each year there are tragic cases of the murder of civilians and soldiers. In 1990 a terrorist attack against the residence of the British prime minister was narrowly averted, and in 1992 the IRA stepped up its campaign of terror, with frequent bombings and bomb threats. On the other hand, Fanon’s approach is based on the belief that through violence the oppressed peoples of Algeria and other nations can rid themselves of their “inferiority complex and from [their] despair and inaction; it makes [the oppressed] fearless and restores self-respect.

” Fanon views violence not only as a liberating force but also as a means to make, “it possible for the masses to understand social truths and gives the key to them” (Dobson & Payne, 1982, p. 19). This was similar to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida’s approach. Bin Laden has used his ties with al-Qaida to conduct a worldwide campaign of terrorism. The primary goal of Bin Laden and his supporters is to liberate Palestine, with secondary goals of removing the Saudi ruling family from power and driving Western military forces and their corrupt, Western-oriented governments from predominantly Muslim countries.

Most Islamic fighters have no interest in strategies of authentication or existential realization and no interest in Marxist theories of emancipation. But, in one respect, their actions echo Fanon’s ideas – the act of terror not only had an expressive meaning for the hijackers, but an existential meaning as well. To wit, even suicide can be life affirming (Coker, 2003, p. 291). 3. In your opinion, are terror groups more dangerous than so-called `loners and crazies`, or is it the other way around? Thoroughly explain and justify your answer with data from the texts and other sources if you chose.

Most terror groups are more dangerous than “loners” and “crazies” because they are not crazed by hate but they believe that to spark terrorism is a right thing to do. One goal of terrorists is to force the government to respond to their violence in a harsh manner, in the hope that such repression will lead to discontent among the people and ultimately to revolution. In this case, terrorists believe that they could use their tactics to forward their goals — to destabilize colonial governments and occupation forces.

Such terrorism is directed at a specific goal that is easy to articulate and understand, such as overthrow of the current political regime. On the other hand, radical Islamic believers’ frequently state goal of terrorist groups is to promote a certain religious system or protect a set of beliefs within a religion. This kind of terrorism is called religious terrorism. A good example of this type of terrorism is the use of jihad, or holy war, by Islamic fundamentalists who wish to protect their religion from “creeping secularism and cultural imperialism posed by Western countries such as the United States” (Ali and Bowe, 1988).

Dealing with “loners” or “crazies” is simplified somewhat by the fact that they usually work alone and do not have accomplices, as political terrorists do. However, “crazies” could also cause major terrorist actions, like when an unbalanced hijacker could endanger the lives of people in the airplane. The problems caused by hijackers who are mentally unbalanced touch on both unpredictability and illogicality. The mentally-ill only wish to attract public attention and generally tend not to count the cost, leading them to take unnecessary and often dangerous risks. As a result, conventional deterrents frequently will not work against them.

For example, a mentally-unbalanced hijacker often reacts violently to what he reads in books or newspapers, and the media have paid a lot of attention to hijacking. Furthermore, it is very difficult to judge, from outward appearances, whether or not a passenger is mentally ill. There is no guarantee that an unbalanced hijacker will give himself away by foaming at the mouth, and frequently his demands are the same as those of a rational hijacker (Clyne 1973, p. 125). Negotiating with a person who is mentally in is a psychiatric problem that may depend on several factors. According to Clyne,

An approach which might be quite suitable for use on a manic-depressive, bent simply on suicide, would be eminently unsuitable if used on a man who suffers from the paranoid delusion that there is some vast conspiracy to imprison and study him for life because he holds the secret of eternal youth; and even an approach suitable for that paranoid would be quite unsuitable if used on a paranoid who is obsessed by some totally different kind of delusion, and would be still less suitable for a schizophrenic in whose crazy universe red ties mean imminent and deadly danger (p.

121). I think that the terrorism caused by crazies could be considered as isolated cases and the damage that they could do is minimal because they usually work alone. Compared to terrorist groups, these “crazies” and “loners” could still undergo psychiatric help. Religious radical terrorists usually do not listen anymore because they believe that what they do is their mission from God and their faith depends on it. No one can argue with that anymore and they will continue to sow hostilities to people who they think is threatening their religious beliefs.

It is also easier to stop these “crazies’ because he is working alone, people just need to call the police. Terrorist groups are organized and it needs military help to put an end to their activities. 4. Public officials routinely talk of killing the terrorists overseas as an objective of our war on terror. Why have public officials refrained from glorifying the killing of domestic terrorists here at home? Is the killing by federal authorities of a violent Klan leader or an anarchist as happy an occasion as killing a member of the Al Qaeda leadership?

Why or why not? In the United States, until recently, terrorism was regarded as a criminal matter, to be handled by the police, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies. When caught, terrorists were tried in regular criminal courts, and there was no special crime of “terrorism. ” Police kill as well as capture terrorists, and the use of deadly force by police is not uncommon. The agencies responsible for such killings were city police, the FBI, sheriffs’ departments, and state troopers.

However, Hewitt (2002) showed the number of police killed by each group of terrorists, and it is interesting to note that the latter is similar to (and usually slightly higher than) the number of terrorists killed by the police. This parity between the two kinds of fatalities suggests that the police response was generally proportional to the danger they faced. Most of those shot by police were killed when police returned fire, or were apprehending suspects, or when individuals were behaving in a threatening manner (p. 82).

The only member of the Klan ever killed by police, Kathy Ainsworth, was shot to death in a police ambush, when she and Thomas Tarrants attempted to blow up a synagogue in Meridian Mississippi. The ambush was set up by two Klansmen who had been bribed with money provided by the Anti-defamation League and the Mississippi Jewish community (Nelson, 1993). In some countries, anti-terrorist efforts involve mass searches of hostile areas, in which civilians are stopped at random. This has occurred in America on at least some occasions—all involving blacks.

During the Death Angels’ reign of terror in San Francisco, police launched an allout search throughout the black community, stopping and questioning hundreds of black men. Some individuals were stopped and asked for their identification as many as six times. The police invaded a movie theater, shone flashlights on the audience, then pulled out and searched half a dozen blacks. Thus, in this method, many innocent lives could be endangered because the terrorists might use the civilians as their cover.

Killing a violent Klan member could not be a happy situation because innocent civilians might be killed in the process in thwarting their terrorist activities. After the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings, Congress granted increased powers to the FBI, and the federal government adopted a proactive policy aimed at preventing terrorist attacks by the surveillance of extremist groups. The goal is to uncover terrorist conspiracies while they are still in the planning stage. At the Justice Department, a task force holds biweekly meetings to evaluate intelligence reports and coordinate national strategy.

Efforts have focused on two groups, Islamic fundamentalists and the far right. The new laws allowed the FBI to investigate individuals even if they were not suspected of any specific offense. Other laws, making it a crime to send money to foreign groups that the State Department classifies as terrorist, and allowing the government to detain or deport immigrants suspected of terrorist links, have been used almost exclusively against Muslim individuals and groups. Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the FBI carried out over 5,000 secret wiretaps during the 1990s.

Civil libertarians are unhappy with the use of secret evidence in immigration cases, and claim that the FBI equates rhetoric with material support for terrorism, and that several of those prosecuted are victims of guilt by association (“US Muslims Scrutinized in Terror Probes”, 1998). As for killing an Al Quaida leader, this could not be a happy situation also because this is a form of transnational terrorism. This involves military attacks and different military policies will need to be developed to counter terrorist threats.

For example, to counter international terrorist threats, the U. S. president needs a variety of military options within his role as commander-in-chief. Larry Cable (1987) stated that more innovative policies need to be found for counterterrorism. According to Cable, conventional concepts of conflict will not usually work and lawmakers need to draft guidelines in order to minimize the damage and spare the innocent civilians. 5. In your opinion, what were the earliest forms of terrorism in the United States? Who were the perpetrators?

Who were the victims? Is your opinion the same as that contained in the Vohryzek- Bolden, et al. text? Give examples. Also, explain whether you believe these early terrorists were no better (or no worse) than modern terrorists. Vohryzek-Bolden et al. (2001) indicated that the genocidal policies against the North American Indians was the first form of terrorism in the United States. This happened before the Constitution was signed, when the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was mapped out the manner in which the U. S.

government would deal with the Indian nations. The Ordinance proclaimed that the government would observe “the utmost good faith” in dealing with Indians and promised that their lands would not be invaded or taken except “in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress. ” The Indian policies have been contradictory in practice because these policies endorsed actions most beneficial to the non-Indian population, making them prone to terrorism (p. 40). A study by Bell and Gurr (1979) viewed early forms of terrorism in the United States at the late 1800s.

Despite the American paranoia about radicals, terrorism in the nineteenth century was primarily aimed at protecting the status quo and the economic environment. The actions of company security police and private corporations were often terroristic in nature. They were designed to keep workers from disrupting production. Labor radicals, however, also behaved violently; the labor movement of the late nineteenth century was replete with violence. Bell and Gurr label this a manifestation of terrorism. Labor violence was not the only source of early U.

S. terrorism. The frontier had its own special form of violence. As the frontier expanded, the laws of the United States trailed far behind. Settlers developed their own brand of makeshift justice. At times, this type of justice spilled over into vigilante activities. Bell and Gurr (1979) refer to some aspects of the vigilante movement as terrorism. The Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War is an example. In October 1915, Ku Klux Klan was launched as a movement signalizing its progress by campaigns of religious and racial hatred enforced by terrorism.

A meeting called by William Joseph Simmons to start the organization was attended, he stated, by thirty-four “splendid citizens of the State of Georgia” who signed an application for a charter which was granted by that State, on December 4, 1915, to the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Somewhat later in Simmons’ testimony, it developed, one of these “splendid citizens” repeatedly came into that “Imperial Wizard’s” office and “would tell me of the great money-making possibilities, provided certain plans that he had worked out should be authorized and enforced .

. . finally stating that he could guarantee a cold $1,000,000 to myself and to himself if those plans were carried out. ” This organization came into activity with a four-fold program of antagonism to Catholics, Jews, the foreign-born and Negroes. A Congressional investigation brought out the circumstances of its founding. In more vivid detail Representative Leonidas C. Dyer, of Missouri, gave a summary of the Klan’s operations:

During the past year a constant succession of violent and criminal assaults on individuals, consisting of abductions, floggings, brandings, irreparable mutilations, application of tar and feathers to men and women, and, in several instances, murders, have been reported from various parts of the country. . . . Terrorization, active or passive, of the colored people in American communities, has been one of the Klan’s principal objects. . . . The name Ku Klux alone is enough to thoroughly frighten the average ignorant Negro (Myers, 1960, p. 223).

Representative Dyer said he had received various letters from men in the South who had been ruined physically and whose homes had been broken up and businesses destroyed. They belonged to particular religious groups against which the Klan was conducting its violent propaganda. “Abundant evidence exists,” Dyer went on, “that such propaganda, directed particularly against those American citizens who happen to be Catholics or Jews, has been actively circulated by the professional solicitors who have been making a living getting members of the Klan on a commission basis.

Corollary evidence that the Klan is systematically cultivating such militant bigotry is found in the contents of its semi-official publication, The Searchlight of Atlanta, the pages of which literally drip with venomous and frequently totally baseless attacks on the Catholics and Jews (Myers 1960, p. 224). I think these early forms of terrorist activities are no different than what the modern ones are sowing these days. They promote fear among innocent civilians and endanger lives just to get what they want.

The only difference is that modern terrorism could inflict more damage because they have modern weapons which could decimate thousands of people in seconds. The United States is already putting nearly half a billion dollars into fighting terrorism and stemming the spread of weapons of mass destruction. References Ali, S. R. , and J. J. Bowe. (1988). Terrorism in the Middle East. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 12(1). Bell, J. B. and Gurr, T. R. (1979) “Terrorism and Revolution in America.

” In Hugh D. Graham and Ted Robert Gurr (eds. ), Violence in America. Newbury Park, CA : Sage . Cable, Larry. (1987) Piercing the Mists: Intelligence and Policy in Constrained Lethality and Ambiguous Conflicts. Paper presented at the International Studies Association Section on Military Studies Conference, Atlanta. Coker, C. (2003). 24 War Without Warriors. In Global Responses to Terrorism: 9/11, Afghanistan and beyond, Buckley, M. & Fawn, R. (Eds. ) (pp. 284-295). New York: Routledge. Dobson, C. and Payne, R.

(1982). The Terrorists: Their weapons, Leaders and Tactics. New York: Facts on File. Fairchild, E. (2001). Chapter 12: Terrorism. Comparative Criminal Justice Systems. London: Thomson Learning. Hewitt, C. (2002). Understanding Terrorism in America: From the Klan to Al Qaeda. New York: Routledge. Lutz, J. M. , & Lutz, B. J. (2004). Global Terrorism. New York: Routledge. Maxon-Browne, E. (1981). Terrorism in Northern Ireland. In Lodge, J. (ed. ), Terrorism: A Challenge to the State. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Myers, G. (1960). History of Bigotry in the United States (H. M. Christman, Ed. ). New York: Capricorn Books. Nelson, J. (1993). Terror in the Night: The Klan’s Campaign against the Jews. New York: Simon and Schuster. Nyomi, S. 24 September 2004. “Terror on Every Side”, Semper Reformanda, 14(1). Retrieved July 31, 2006, from http://warc. jalb. de/warcajsp/side. jsp? news_id=178&navi=5 Rummel, R. J. (1996). Death by government. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. Stephens, G. (2003, May/June).

Global Trends in Crime: Crime Varies Greatly around the World, Statistics Show, but New Tactics Have Proved Effective in the United States. to Keep Crime in Check in the Twenty-First Century, We’ll All Need to Get Smarter, Not Just Tougher. The Futurist, 37, 40. “US Muslims scrutinized in terror probes” (1998) Washington Post October 31: A1-8. Vohryzek-Bolden, M. , Olson-Raymer, G. and Whamond, J. O. (2001). Domestic Terrorism and Incident Management: Issues and Tactics. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas Publishing Ltd.


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